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Subject: Gatorboard


From: Elizabeth Hadlow <conservator>
Date: Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Bas van Velzen <bas.van.velzen [at] icn__nl> writes

>In the ongoing quest for materials with better properties for
>backingboards for paintings and framed works of art in general, we
>are considering Gatorboard as a replacement for Kapaline. Before
>extensively testing this material we would like to know if
>Gatorboard is used in conservation ...

I was recently asked a similar question--that is, is there some
"archivally" sound light-weight material that we can exhibition
mount this extremely large map/plan onto. I was looking into
lightweight wood and mount board structures, or honeycomb paper and
fibre glass constructions, when the designer on the project
suggested Gatorboard.

When I read the technical bulletin about the product
<URL:>, this
is what they claim:

   "Archival Mounting:

   "Gatorfoam is a combination of polystyrene and a polymeric
    impregnated veneer. because of its unique composition, there are
    no conservation standards that specifically apply to Gatorfoam.
    Both White and Natural Gatorfoam have successfully passed the
    Photoactivity Test conducted by the Image Permanence Institute
    of the Rochester Institute of Technology. Conservation mounting
    requires special materials to ensure that the art to be
    preserved will remain undamaged in the future. Many major
    museums have successfully used Gatorfoam to mount exhibitions
    for many years."

Based on this information I agreed to use Gatorboard for our
exhibition--which is lasting for about 4-5 months. Gatorboard is an
extremely lightweight and rigid material that seems perfect for the
mounting of large flat artworks--especially if this claim is indeed
correct. I would be interested as to whether IPI can confirm the
manufacturer's claim, or whether the manufacture may have had the
test performed elsewhere.

In any case, due to the short nature of the intended use, we were in
a position to agree to the request and make a more hasty decision
than if we were intending to use the material in long-term contact
with an object. We are also covering the board with fabric (an
aesthetic requirement) that will also act as a barrier of sorts.

I would also be interested to hear whether others have been using
Gatorboard, and for what purposes.

Elizabeth Hadlow
Senior Conservator
State Records NSW
PO Box 516
Kingswood NSW 2747
+61 2 9673 1788
Fax: +61 2 9673 1760

                  Conservation DistList Instance 20:28
                 Distributed: Monday, November 27, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-20-28-006
Received on Tuesday, 14 November, 2006

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